jackleg

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adjective jack·leg \ˈjak-ˌleg, -ˌlāg\

Definition of jackleg

  1. 1a :  characterized by unscrupulousness, dishonesty, or lack of professional standards a jackleg lawyerb :  lacking skill or training :  amateur a jackleg carpenter

  2. 2 :  designed as a temporary expedient :  makeshift

jackleg

noun

jackleg was our Word of the Day on 12/07/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of jackleg in a sentence

  1. a toolshed that can be built by any jackleg carpenter who's capable of hitting a nail without smashing his thumb

  2. he did such a jackleg installation of that door frame that now the door won't shut

Did You Know?

Don't call someone jackleg unless you're prepared for that person to get angry with you. Throughout its more than 150-year-old history in English, jackleg has most often been used as a term of contempt and deprecation, particularly in reference to lawyers and preachers. Its form echoes that of the similar blackleg, an older term for a cheating gambler or a worker opposed to union policies. Etymologists know that blackleg appeared over a hundred years before jackleg, but they don't have any verifiable theories about the origin of either term.

Origin and Etymology of jackleg

1jack + -leg (as in blackleg)


First Known Use: 1833



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